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The New York City Police Museum

The New York City Police Museum The Museum is currently closed - please check back for more info!

The New York City Police Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the New York City Police Department, the worlds largest and most famous police service.

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Curator’s Corner – On this day Oct 31, 1917 Chief Inspector Maximilian F. Schmittberger Dies – during his career, he wen...
10/31/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this day Oct 31, 1917 Chief Inspector Maximilian F. Schmittberger Dies – during his career, he went from the most hated to the most loved cop! As s key witness during the Lexow corruption investigations in 1894, he was, in the view of his fellow cops, the department’s most detested man. Schmittberger was born July 27, 1851 in Germany and came to the U.S. at age 4. He joined the Force January 8, 1874 and rose thru the ranks, reaching the Captaincy in 1890. On May 2, 1903, Schmittberger was promoted to Inspector and assigned as Commanding Officer of the Traffic Squad. In 1908 was appointed Chief Inspector (today’s Chief of Dept) and held the position until his death on October 31, 1917. During his career, he was awarded the dept’s 2 highest medals at the time, the “Department Medal” and “Honorable Mention” award. He was also responsible for the founding of the Honor Legion. He was one of the very few Chief’s to die while in office, and in contrast to earlier feelings, he was widely respected and mourned. His funeral is pictured here.

Curator’s Corner – On this Day – October 25, 1916 – the Floating Stationhouse is opened - In the fall of 1916, Police De...
10/25/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this Day – October 25, 1916 – the Floating Stationhouse is opened - In the fall of 1916, Police Department obtained a barge from the Dept. of Docks. On this barge, which measured 40’ x70’, the members of the Marine Division built a small stationhouse complete with a regular police desk, telephone, dormitory, sitting room, locker room as well as a second floor observatory. This stationhouse on the water could be towed almost anywhere by the PATROL, the main boat used by Harbor Patrol. The floating stationhouse, when not being used, was moored at Randall’s Island, and for a time served as the Harbor Precinct there. So in the days before a command post vehicle could be driven to the scene of an incident, the Floating Stationhouse was available. The Police Commissioner, Arthur Woods, was present for the ceremony, and is shown behind the desk, while the others squeezed in!

Curator's Corner - On This Day – October 16, 1973 – New Police Headquarters Dedicated. Planning for this day started bac...
10/16/2022

Curator's Corner - On This Day – October 16, 1973 – New Police Headquarters Dedicated. Planning for this day started back in 1928, so finally after 45 years, the new Police Headquarters at 1 Police Plaza is dedicated. Ceremonies included speeches, a grand parade and a “Police Day” The new 58 million dollar, red brick, brutalist building featured a 2 story entrance lobby, multiple entrances, brick pavers in the lobby to match the pavers on the plaza, 1200 seat auditorium, press room and press offices, basement firing range, central booking and a rooftop heliport. Also included were 2 floors of the most advanced computers and communications systems available at the time. Interior modular panels in the new HQ also gave the department the ability to be flexible in the future, offices could easily be modified. Probably the most appreciated improvement at 1 PP was…air conditioning; the 64 year old headquarters at 240 Centre Street was built in the pre-a/c days. While policing conditions and technology have changed greatly in the city since 1973, the headquarters at 1 Police Plaza has been able to adapt and continues to serve as the department headquarters – now for 49 years!

Curator’s Corner – New Police Headquarters & The Last Police Parade – On October 16, 1973: Starting at Bowling Green, th...
10/16/2022

Curator’s Corner – New Police Headquarters & The Last Police Parade – On October 16, 1973: Starting at Bowling Green, the last Police Parade held in NYC stepped off and headed north through the Financial District. The Police Parade was a long time tradition in NYC, starting in the 1850’s and lasting (off and on) until the 1930’s. The Parade was a time when the citizens could view, cheer, support and pay tribute to their Police Department, a day when civic pride was on display. As the 1973 parade reached Chambers St, it turned to the East and marched through the arch of the Municipal Building to the location of the new $58 million dollar home of the NYPD – 1 Police Plaza. Upon arrival, dedication ceremonies were held, the ribbon was cut and speeches were given. Although the focus of the day was on the new structure, a great tradition was revived that day – the Police Parade.

Curator’s Corner – On this date, October 10, 1973 “The Shack” closes. Located at 4 Centre Market Place, in the shadow of...
10/10/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this date, October 10, 1973 “The Shack” closes. Located at 4 Centre Market Place, in the shadow of old Police Headquarters, wedged in between John Jovino, “the” place to go for police equipment and other shops of the gunsmith district, “The Shack”, officially known as the Headquarters Press Building, was where the NYPD press hung their hats. Opened in 1940 and dedicated by Police Commissioner Valentine, this 3 story building was once home to over 25 reporters. In those days, New York had 8 daily newspapers, as well as multiple radio stations with local news teams. The building is said to have had a system of externally mounted colored lights, so reporters could tell if they were wanted for a Breaking Story; legend states that the lights could be seen through the window of the reporter’s favorite watering hole, the Headquarters Tavern at Grand St and Center Market Place. The reason for the closing: Police Headquarters was moving downtown to 1 Police Plaza. At the new headquarters building, the reporters were given an office inside the new building – albeit without the colored external signal lighting.

From Our Collection – Joseph Petrosino’s Appointment Certificate - October 9, 1883: This native of Padula, Italy was act...
10/09/2022

From Our Collection – Joseph Petrosino’s Appointment Certificate - October 9, 1883: This native of Padula, Italy was actually working for the department prior to his appointment as a Patrolman. In those days, the PD was the de facto department of the City, and took care of everything from sheltering the homeless to sweeping the streets. It was while dealing with garbage that Petrosino was noticed by Inspector Alexander “Clubber” Williams, who was then in charge of the Street Cleaning Department. Williams, who was watching his men load garbage on to a barge (to be dumped in the river!) was impressed with the work of Petrosino, and they soon became friends. Williams convinced Petrosino to join the force, and pulled some strings to get him in (Petrosino, at 5’3” was under the height requirement). Williams realized that a Patrolman that spoke Italian would be an asset, and Clubber was correct! After proving himself in the Tenderloin District, he was appointed Detective Sgt. By Teddy Roosevelt, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. Petrosino formed two important divisions - the Italian Squad, to deal with “Organized Crime” and the Bomb Squad. While on an investigation in the Sicilian city of Palermo in 1909, Petrosino was assassinated. He is remembered today as the only Police Officer in NYPD history who was killed in the line of duty while in a foreign nation. From humble beginnings as a laborer on a garbage scow, this “founding father” of the NYPD has left his mark on the Department – and his sacrifice WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

Curator’s Corner – On this date, October 5, 1891: The first 4 police matrons are sworn in and assigned to the 4th & 6th ...
10/05/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this date, October 5, 1891: The first 4 police matrons are sworn in and assigned to the 4th & 6th precincts. Police Matrons worked long hours, and received only 1 day off per month , and 1 week of vacation time per year. Matrons were charged with taking care of women and children that came into police custody. There were initially 140 applicants for the Matron position, but the Police Board decided not to appoint any women to the position that less than 30 and more than 45 years old. Medical and civil service examinations narrowed the applicant pool down to 28 women. Of the 28, 4 were initially appointed. By 1896 the number was increased to allow for 2 Matrons to be assigned to every stationhouse.

Curator’s Corner – On this date, September 30, 1948: The NYPD acquires its first helicopter. Mayor O’Dwyer and Police Co...
09/30/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this date, September 30, 1948: The NYPD acquires its first helicopter. Mayor O’Dwyer and Police Commissioner Wallander were present at the Midtown Skyport at East 23rd street to inaugurate Police helicopter service. The Aviation Bureau had been operating with 3 fixed wing aircraft, the new helicopter, a Bell D-47, cost $25K, would greatly enhance the bureau’s ability to police the skies over New York. Shortly thereafter, fixed wing aircraft would be replaced by an all-helicopter fleet.

Curator’s Corner – On this Day – “Use your gun as you would your lipstick” – On September 24, 1943 the department starts...
09/24/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this Day – “Use your gun as you would your lipstick” – On September 24, 1943 the department starts the roll out of the first black leather combination gun and makeup shoulder bag designed and donated by former Police Commissioner Grover A. Whalen, then Chairman of the Board for Coty Cosmetics. It contained a holster, a lipstick in medium red, a compact and a red plastic case of rouge. Mayor LaGuardia cautiously counseled the women: "Use your gun as you would your lipstick - use it only when you need it and use it intelligently. Don't overdo either one. Be quick on the trigger when you have to be." Women wore these combination holster-make-up handbags until the unisex uniform and holster gun belt was made mandatory in 1973.

Curator’s Corner – We Shall Never Forget – On this day September 23, 1941 – the first Native American was killed in the ...
09/23/2022

Curator’s Corner – We Shall Never Forget – On this day September 23, 1941 – the first Native American was killed in the line of duty: While investigating suspicious activity, Patrolman Schowers stopped two men, and commanded them to surrender. A struggle took place and he fell to his death. After his death, a letter was found in his apartment, it was marked "to be read in the event of my death"….. To the members and the Commissioner of the New York Police Department: It is with deepest regret that I leave behind the department that I loved since I was a little boy. But I also leave you with a joy no one will ever know, and that is being a member of the finest police department in the world. In leaving these few words to all the members, I do hope that each and every one will always have this thought in mind, to live up to all that the department stands for or die trying. Above all, keep one thought in mind, to be a shining example to the public of the department to which you are a member of. I have been looking forward to this day when I would go on the Happy Hunting Grounds of my ancestors, to live in peace always. Yours in death as in live, Patrolman James Alvin Schowers.

Patrolman Schowers was a full blooded Sioux Indian, known as Chief Many Rains. He was the first full blooded American Indian to serve with the New York City Police Department

Curator’s Corner – On This Day September 16, 1920 – Wall Street Bombing – In the days when a horse and cart could still ...
09/16/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day September 16, 1920 – Wall Street Bombing – In the days when a horse and cart could still be seen in NYC, a man steered an old horse down Wall Street around lunchtime. He stopped the wagon and its load in front of the U.S. Assay Office, across from the J. P. Morgan building in the heart of Wall Street. The driver disappeared and a few minutes later the cart exploded killing more than 30 people and injuring some 300. In addition to explosives, the cart was loaded with lead window sash weights, which became shrapnel that was spewed throughout the area. The police rushed to the scene, to assist the injured, break up the crowd of 40,000 onlookers and restore order to Wall Street. In addition to the damaged buildings, (some of the shrapnel marks can still be seen today on the Morgan Building and Federal Hall) another problem was GOLD! Some $900 million was stored at the Sub-Treasury building and authorities were afraid of looting. A forensics search yielded 2 of the horse’s shoes, and Detectives were able to trace them to a blacksmith that remembered shoeing the horse, but he didn’t remember the driver. This case was never solved.

09/11/2022
9/11 Remembered

Curator’s Corner - On This Most Solemn Day, September 11 - We REMEMBER and HONOR all those who lost their lives as a result of the World Trade Center attacks : the 23 Members of the Service that died that day, the hundreds of members of the service who were involved in the rescue and recovery effort that have died as a result of 9/11 related illnesses, as well as those currently suffering the after effects of being exposed to the toxic and hazardous conditions at the various rescue and recovery sites. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten! HEROES ALL! - Neverforget

Curator’s Corner – On this day, September 8, 1664 - Invasion!! Peter Stuyvesant surrendered the Dutch Colony of New Neth...
09/08/2022

Curator’s Corner – On this day, September 8, 1664 - Invasion!! Peter Stuyvesant surrendered the Dutch Colony of New Netherlands, to the English. The entire colony, as well as the capital, New Amsterdam would be renamed New York, for the new “owner” James, Duke of York, brother of the English King. The government would now change to the English system; the Schout would now be called the Constable. This invasion had another, lasting effect on the NYPD – as the English Seal of the City of New York, or “SIGILLUM CIVITATIS NOVI EBORACI´ would be emblazoned on everything from Police Shields, Cap Devices, Car Doors, Patches and Buttons. Well, the Dutch were not out of the picture for good for two reasons – in 1673, the Dutch would have their own invasion and retake the City, and call it New Orange (the English won it back in November of 1674) and the final “word” on the subject was the date on the Seal was changed from 1664 to 1625, in remembrance of the early settlers of Manhattan the Dutch. Most NYPD equipment had the Seal without the date one exception - the police button.

Curator’s Corner – The Morning Lineup – Every morning, except Sundays and Holidays, 2 detectives from each precinct in t...
09/06/2022

Curator’s Corner – The Morning Lineup – Every morning, except Sundays and Holidays, 2 detectives from each precinct in the City were required to report to the 4th floor of Police Headquarters at 240 Centre Street for the Morning Lineup. It was in the Lineup Room where persons arrested for felonies or thievery, as well as professional or known criminals would be marched up on a stage and questioned by an interrogator. Arrestees were questioned about the event, and information on the arrestee was given to the detectives in the room. Detectives in the audience were able to view all persons arrested, and see if these persons fit the description of persons wanted on open cases they were working on. The lineup, while effective, was a very costly exercise, each lineup involved about 200 officers, including the detectives, arresting officers, processing, recording staff and even patrol wagon drivers. By the mid 1960’s, it was determined that records disseminated by the department’s Bureau of Criminal Identification could serve the same purpose, so this morning tradition was eliminated.

Curator’s Corner: The Olympics & NYPD – “Dip that flag and you’ll be in the hospital tonight”  With the start of the 201...
08/05/2022

Curator’s Corner: The Olympics & NYPD – “Dip that flag and you’ll be in the hospital tonight” With the start of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, let’s take a look back a few years to when NYPD members were critical players for the US Team. In the early 1900’s, members of NY’s Finest were chosen to represent the United States: Patrolmen Martin Sheridan, John Flannagan and Matthew McGrath. The men had participated in multiple Olympic games, and the group had gold and silver medals to prove it. They were part of a group known as “The Irish Whales” for their strength and the sport they dominated – the hammer throw. “The Irish Whales” dominated the events of the Olympics for the first 2 decades of the twentieth century. But, it is for what happened before the games that the Irish Whales are remembered for today. During the parade at the start of the 1908 Olympics in London, each team was required to lower their country’s flag to salute the king. This was not going to happen if the Irish born American cops had anything to do with it. Matthew McGrath told the flag bearer, “Dip that flag and you’ll be in the hospital tonight”. Martin Sheridan also stated “That flag bows to no earthly King”. So over 100 years later, we remember some of the “Finest” that made sure their adopted country was well respected on the world stage.

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 16, 1863: Civil War Draft Riots – the rioting started to subside by Thursday. The ...
07/16/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 16, 1863: Civil War Draft Riots – the rioting started to subside by Thursday. The riots caused the injuries of over 1000 people and deaths of at least 120 people. The true death count was never known, as it was reported that many dead bodies were tossed into the rivers. Dozens of members of the Metropolitan Police were injured, including the Police Superintendent (the equivalent of today’s Police Commissioner)! We especially honor the brave law enforcement officers that were killed by the mob; three Patrolmen and one Special Patrolman, John Starkey. The Patrolmen killed were:
Patrolman Edward Dippel - On July 14th at approximately 5:30 p.m., while attempting to stop and clear a group of rioters from looting and sacking the Gibbons House on West 29th Street near 8th Avenue, Patrolman Dippel was shot. He was removed from the scene and died from his injuries 5 days later on July 21, 1863.
Patrolman Peter McIntyre - On July 13th while performing riot duty at 3rd Avenue and East 46th street, Patrolman McIntyre was assaulted with iron pipes, and stomped by rioters. Patrolman McIntyre was removed to Bellevue Hospital where he died on August 9, 1863.
Patrolman John T. Van Buren - While performing riot duty on July 13, 1863, Patrolman Van Buren was assaulted by rioters. Patrolman Van Buren succumbed to his injuries on November 7, 1863.

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 14, 1863: Civil War Draft Riots Continue – The Stationhouse of the 18th Precinct, ...
07/14/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 14, 1863: Civil War Draft Riots Continue – The Stationhouse of the 18th Precinct, at 163 East 22nd Street is attacked. The Police Museum is very fortunate to have the original Command Log of the Eighteenth Precinct; one of the only surviving remnants of the command after it had been attacked by rioters and burned to the ground. The Command Log entry for Tuesday July 14, 1863 reads as follows: "Fire and Destruction of the Station House / At 8 P.M. the Station House of the Eighteenth precinct was attacked by a Mob of Rioters who commenced the attack by demolishing the windows and doors with stones: after which they set fire to the building which was consumed by the flames together with all its contents. The only articles saved was the blotter, time book, telegraph book and nativity book. Also several of the men lost all their uniform and other clothing together with beds. Sergeant Bunden with two policemen who were in charge of the building were compelled to make their escape through the rear onto 23rd Street from the violence of the Mob." The stationhouse of the 23rd Precinct at East 86th Street and 5th was also destroyed.

Curator's Corner - On This Day - July 13 - Two of the Biggest Riots in NYC history happened on the same day - albeit 114...
07/13/2022

Curator's Corner - On This Day - July 13 - Two of the Biggest Riots in NYC history happened on the same day - albeit 114 years apart. July 13, 1863 was the start of the Civil War Draft Riots. The New York working class, unhappy about being drafted into the army, while the rich could buy their way out, tore up the town, killing 120 people and causing millions in damage. On July 13,1977 a blackout caused by a lightning strike at a Consolidated Edison substation along the Hudson River, tripped two circuit breakers and set off a chain of events that results in a massive power failure. The entire city of New York was blacked out, parts of it for more than 24 hours.Unlike previous blackouts, the 1977 event saw lawlessness on a scale not seen since the Civil War Draft Riots in 1863. Looting and vandalism were wide spread. When all was said and done, over 1600 stores were damaged/looted, a thousand fires were set and 3,776 people were arrested. It was estimated that over $300 million in damages were done ($1.2 billion in today's dollars). A busy night - both times - for the N.Y. Police

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 12, 1870/1871 The Orange riots took place in Manhattan, on the same date in two co...
07/12/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 12, 1870/1871 The Orange riots took place in Manhattan, on the same date in two consecutive years between Irish Protestants, called "Orangemen", and Irish Catholics. Grievances from the Old World spilled into the New; the 1870 melee started when a parade was held in Manhattan by Irish Protestants celebrating William of Orange’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne. (William, a Protestant, defeated England’s King James – a Catholic, in a battle for the English Crown.) Which side started this mess is unknown, as both sides taunted and harassed each other till the situation escalated. The resulting riot was quelled by the Police, but only after scores were hurt and 8 people died. The 1871 version of this conflict was almost prevented as City fathers refused to let the parade take place. The Governor stepped in, and the parade proceeded – and turned out to be bloodier than the 1870 march. This time over 150 people were injured, including over 20 Police Officers, with over 60 people killed. The Orange Riots are all but forgotten today, but at the time, they were significant and were proof that the police force, recently (1870) returned to municipal control, could keep the city safe.

Curator’s Corner – On This Day - The First Police Stationhouse: The first building constructed specifically for policing...
07/09/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day - The First Police Stationhouse: The first building constructed specifically for policing purposes in New York was the Watch House, which opened on July 9, 1734. The building was a 2 room wood frame structure 28’ long by 18’ wide, built for a cost of 60 pounds (we were still a colony back then). The building was used by the night watch who patrolled from dusk to dawn. Located at Broad and Wall Streets, this first “police stationhouse” also featured an outdoor cage to house prisoners, as well as a whipping post and pillory, used to punish early offenders. It stood until 1789

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 5, 1915 – Headquarters Bombing – Around 9 p.m., a bomb was detonated at Police Hea...
07/05/2022

Curator’s Corner – On This Day – July 5, 1915 – Headquarters Bombing – Around 9 p.m., a bomb was detonated at Police Headquarters, then located at 240 Centre Street, right under the windows of the Detective Bureau. Shattered glass flew through the squad room but luckily nobody was hurt. Men were knocked from their chairs, and hundreds of windows were broken for blocks around. The bombing was blamed on anarchists.

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I have recently come across a collection of historic photos ( 50's 60's 70's) left behind by my mother-in-law's partner, who was a Sergent in the NYPD. I would like to donate them, but not sure who or where to send them.
It would be a shame to throw them out!
Any advice?
Thank you.
Looking for Help is there anyone that makes reproduction 1860s police uniform and the helmet buttons and Badges I’m from Uk and do Talks at Historical events
Researching a family member from the early 1900's that was a NYC policeman. Can you direct me to someone who can answer questions about his work record?
I don't know if you can help but I'm looking for information about my great grandfather. His name was Eber Lewis Kinnie. He was a beat cop in the Bronx in the late 1800's retiring as a sergeant. I have photos of him in his later years but nothing of him in uniform. I was wondering if this museum would have that type of thing. I have his night stick , something I think is called a blackjack , his summer hat and badge. Thanks in advance for your help,
Patty Smarzo
I would love to come up to see this museum as my Dad was a NYC police officer and I am proud of all police officers thought the USA but NayC officers are The Best
I realize the museum is closed for now but I am trying to find an email or contact as a 95 year old friend of mine has her Uncles police certificate, badge and something else from 1902 that she would like to donate if interested.
Who runs this page? I would like to be contacted
Have a safe and happy fathers day!!!
How do I donate an item?
Does the museum take donations of memorabilia? I have two log books from the 41st precinct from 1898 and 1899 as well as officers memo books from the 50's
When are you looking to reopen?
Welcome to the NEW COLONIALISM. The New York Times is despicable. They are a GIGANTIC PARASITE that advocates top AND bottom PARASITISM. More "problems", more MONEY. We are being RUINED. Normality is vanishing. It's called CORRUPTION on the GRAND SCALE. We are losing our rights and our freedoms.

What are the REAL costs to police officers in New York City due to this !!!?...their lives ??!!... it's sick beyond sick.
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